PORTLAND — Nuisance bear complaints are an annual rite of spring in Maine, and state officials say they have begun this year.

Bears emerge from hibernation hungry and many of the natural foods they eat in the wild, such as fruits and nuts, are not yet available. This sometimes causes them to seek human food from garbage cans and back porches.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says complaints of such activities have begun. The department is reminding people to remove any items from outside their homes that could attract bears and lead to a dangerous encounter.

Bears are particularly fond of birdfeeders and grills. State officials remind residents that bears will become accustomed to locations where they know they can find food.

A black bear wandered around Martha Holbrook’s front lawn on the Holbrook Road in Minot in 2013 eating from a birdfeeder in the garden before hauling it down and carrying it across the street. (See more photos….)

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